What is Nyctalopia?

Nyctalopia (also known as night blindness) is a condition in which someone has trouble seeing in dim light or darkness. It also falls into the category of vision impairment. Driving at night, working outside at night, and working in areas with low levels of light may prove challenging for individuals with night blindness. Individuals with night blindness may also have a slower adjustment to changes in light conditions.

In the Supreme Court Case Capobianco v. City of New York on September 1, 2005, a former New York sanitation worker Anthony Capobianco sued the city because his supervisors fired him after discovering his night blindness. In 1998, the New York City Department of Sanitation (DOS) hired Anthony Capobianco as a sanitation worker. Capobianco, who is nearsighted, was later declined by the DOS due to his "visual defect." Capobianco’s job involved driving the sanitation truck. When Capobianco drove at night, he experienced severe vision difficulties and suffered a migraine headache. After the case, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of life, officially announced that night blindness qualifies the conditions of physical disability. But what are the main causes of night blindness?

The most common genetic cause of nyctalopia is retinitis pigmentosa, a disorder in which the rod cells in the retina gradually lose their ability to respond to light. Patients suffering from this genetic condition have progressive nyctalopia and eventually their daytime vision may also be affected. Some postnatal causes of night blindness can be deficiency of vitamin A, diabetes, cataracts, myopia, etc. Night blindness caused by genetic conditions cannot be prevented. However, we can prevent ourselves from it starting now by eating foods containing rich Vitamin A (carrot, spinach, cantaloupe, etc), doing regular eye examinations, and wearing sunglasses to avoid harmful UV rays.

Works Cited:

Biradar, S. (2013, June 28). Night Blindness. competition Master.

Night blindness is a disability under the ADA, says Second Circuit. The Free Library.

Russ. (2021, March 21). Night Blindness: Treatments and Prevention.


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